If you haven't bought one yet, you can get a Mossberg 500A (12 Gauge) at Walmart for around $210 (wood stock and forearm). Mossberg offers a composite stock and forearm for this gun that will run you about $60-$70 combined. An 18.5" barrel is about $80. You can also pick up a pistol grip for about $15. So, for about $400, you can have a gun for hunting/target shooting with your choice of wood or composite stock/forearm or a gun for home defense with 18.5" barrel and a pistol grip. Barrel changes on the 500 are quick and it takes only a couple of minutes to change out the stock (forearm takes a little longer).
OK. It's time to confess my absoluite ignorance and seek instruction from those wiser than I.
What's the difference (cost vs benefit) between the wood and the composite?
I see a need for about 4 guns:
A home defense/hunting shotgun. I assume that different barrels would be required for shot vs slugs?.
A home defense rifle of some sort (semi-auto maybe?)
A hunting rifle. (What caliber is best for whitetail and smaller? Or do you need a big game rifle and a small game rifle?)
A hand gun.
Other than the mossberg (Which I'm told is a suitable first shotgun) I'm clueless about what else I should be looking for. Any lessons?
Also, the Girl (my 9 year old daughter), wants a gun. I'm so proud of her. Of course she wants a pink one but hey, she's a girl. Does NRA still do the Eddie Eagle gun safety courses? What would be a good first gun for her (She's petite. 4'2" maybe 60 lbs)
Thanks everyone for your help.